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  • Writer's pictureVickie Foster

4 Reasons Dogs Chase Their Tails

Our dogs do all kinds of funny actions that make us laugh and in some cases, there may be more to consider than meets the eye. Tail chasing can be entertaining to watch, but sometimes it can mean something is not right. When should you consult your vet or trainer?

1. They’re just playing

Sometimes when a dog is super excited about the day and feeling good, he will grab his tail and take a quick spin. It might even be in anticipation of a walk or when he sees his favorite toy. Spinning every time this happens is totally normal. Your pup is just having fun.

2. Anxiety

If your dog is feeling anxious in anticipation of visiting a vet or seeing you leave for work, he may display repetitive behaviors such as chasing his tail. If your dog also displays excessive whining, barking, chewing, destroying items in the home, or having potty accidents he could be showing symptoms of anxiety. Consult a trainer and/or your veterinarian to learn how to diminish or eliminate the anxiety.

3. Canine Compulsive Disorder (CCD)

CCD is when normal dog behaviors are carried out in such an extreme, repetitive manner that they become difficult for a dog to stop and ultimately interfere with a dog's ability to function. This is the canine version of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in humans. Symptoms of CCD may include spinning, tail chasing, self-mutilation, hallucinating (fly biting), circling, fence running, and hair/air biting tail chasing.

It is believed that CCD is caused by genetics, stress, severe anxiety, medical issues, or frustration. CCD is treatable with training and in severe cases, medication. Please consult your vet if your dog is displaying these symptoms.

4. Medical Issues

A dog chasing his tail repetitively can be a symptom of health issues unrelated to CCD including anal gland problems, nervous system issues, an injury in the tail, a skin or seizure disorder, or allergies. These can come on suddenly and may progress quickly. Please consult your vet right away if your dog is displaying these symptoms.

Most of the time your pet’s tail-chasing is harmless fun. It is best to just be aware of some of the more serious issues so you can rule them out and enjoy your pup’s antics!


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